Book-Printing Machine at NYC’s McNally Jackson

Blog, New York Cityon January 19th, 20111 Comment

My favorite bookstore, McNally Jackson Books, just added an Espresso Book Machine to the store. You can search a database of any public-domain or specially licensed books, and the machine will print a paperback for you as you wait. It was really fun to see the process and hold the final product.

Espresso book machineFirst, the machine prints the pages (see photo above), then it stacks them and prints the cover. Next, it turns the manuscript sideways and glues the spine to the pages. Finally, it cuts the book to size, discards the extra pieces (see photo at left), and spits out the book through a little slot.

The covers are made from a slightly cheaper paper than a normal paperback, but the books themselves feel sturdy and well made. Using the machine is an especially great option if you want to self-publish your own work or if you’re looking for an out-of-print book or something obscure that the store doesn’t have in stock. For example, the book we saw being printed was written in the 1600s and is no longer in circulation.

A book vending machine. It’s no hoverboard, but it still feels like we’re finally in the future.

(McNally Jackson Books is located at the corner of Prince and Mulberry streets in Manhattan.)

Espresso book machine


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